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Unforgettable Season 2 Premiere “Bigtime” 

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

For the most part, I don’t like big cast shake-ups.  You, as a viewer, spend time getting to know these characters, and with a blink of the eye, they are shuffled off and you are left with a brand new set to start the entire process over again.  It sucks, it’s insulting, and most of the time it doesn’t seem to turn out like the network had hoped (anybody remember Harry’s Law?).  However, after watching tonight’s season 2 premiere of Unforgettable, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that this one may actually work.

One of the downsides of being a summer show is, of course, a shorter season.  So, if you blinked for more than a second in tonight’s episode, you may have missed the transition of Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) and her then boss, Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), being shuttled to the so-called “bigtime” in Manhattan.  One minute they are doing a simple training exercise, and the next, they are sitting in the office of the Special Deputy to the Major, Eliot Delson (Dallas Roberts), and have been unofficially offered positions in the Major Crimes Unit of the NYPD.  Well, I say “unofficially” because before either of them can accept, they already have their first case, which turns out to be the final exam for getting the jobs they were just offered.  Whew!  A very fast, very busy first ten minutes of the episode.  But, as I said, summer series don’t have the luxury of time, and so, the rush can easily be forgiven.

Carrie and Al’s first case is a really big deal and one where there is no room for failure.  It involves the kidnapping of a young girl, Lara, and daughter of a prominent real estate developer, Ari Sonnenland (played by Andrew McCarthy).  This case is a particularly hot ticket for the NYPD because a recent, similar one ended badly, with the child ended up being killed.  The parents of the last child ultimately went to an independent kidnapping negotiator, Jack Paulson (John Scurti), who the NYPD blames for getting the boy killed.  Of course, Paulson is pointing the finger at the NYPD, and says it was the other way around.  The NYPD interfered when they were explicitly told to back off.  Even so, Carrie and Al see the value in bringing Paulson in on the new kidnapping, especially since the two cases may be related.

The big break in the case doesn’t come until the kidnappers are found – or at least their bodies were.  The catch is Dr. Webster determines they had been dead for at least 5 days, which means there is no way they were involved in the Sommerland kidnapping.  At that point, the shades are pulled back from Al and Carrie’s eyes, and they know they have been played.  Paulson was involved in the kidnapping all along, possibly to get the ransom money or possibly to punish the NYPD for fouling up the last case, which ultimately cost him his business, his reputation, and his livelihood.  No worries, though, because we do end up getting our happy ending.  Paulson eventually does the right thing and saves the girl, but at the expense of his own life.  This time, the good guys won, and Al and Carrie had yet another high-profile case success story to add to their near-perfect resume.

So, Al and Carrie passed Eliot’s little test, and they are formally offered jobs in the Major Crimes Unit.  There’s only snag – Eliot has to agree to bring Dr. Webster on as well.  And, Delson and Webster don’t exactly have a lovey-dovey affection for each other (or so they lead people into believing).  This is evident with Delson’s rolling his eyes when Dr. Webster entered the room and with her crass remarks about Delson’s numerous shortcomings years ago as a rookie on the police force.  Still the same, there seems to be a mutual respect between the two characters, and while Delson doesn’t seemed thrilled to be forced to hire Dr. Webster, I don’t think he was 100% against it. The move to retain the Dr. Webster character into Season 2 also didn’t surprise me tall.  Jane Curtin may have joined the cast in the middle of the first season, but she filled a void that was far too evident — the absolute lack of any humor in the show.  Before the introduction of Dr. Webster’s character, Unforgettable was probably the most serious crime drama to be found on television.  Yeah, yeah, crime dramas need to be “serious” by virtue of the subject matter they portray, but come on, you have to laugh once in a while.  Curtin’s on-the-spot humor and non-stop witty comments provided the series with the much-needed comic relief, and as a result, made it more balanced.  I’m going to miss the characters that didn’t make the cut to Season 2, but retaining Dr. Webster was a very good call I must admit.

As for the newly-added characters, the jury’s still out.  Of the three new characters, Eliot Delson got the most air-time, and even still, it’s not near enough to see how he will fit into the big picture as the season progresses.  From what we’ve seen thus far, Delson seems to be more of a politician or bureaucrat than a member of law enforcement.  As Dr. Webster put it so well, “Eliot has his sights on bigger cities and brighter lights — and it doesn’t matter who he uses as stepping stones to get there”.  Obviously, she knows more about the man than anyone else, but refuses to spill too much.  Al and Carrie will need to find out themselves and make their own judgments in due time.  Regardless, I have the utmost respect for Dallas Roberts as an actor, and I look forward to seeing his character evolve as the season goes on.

Photo Credit: CBS
Photo Credit: CBS

All in all, I like the “new-and-improved” Unforgettable, and I thought the premiere was a good, strong introduction to the new scenery and the new characters.  Yes, I will miss some of the veterans especially Detective Roe Sanders(Kevin Rankin) and tech-geek Tanya Sitkowsky (Britt Lower).  Knowing that we won’t be seeing the weekly, awkward romantic flirtations between the two is a big buzz-kill, but I have high hopes that even bigger, better things are in store for the show.

Unforgettable airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

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